February 16, 1943 (Tuesday)

“Cactus,” Guadalcanal

My crew and I have definitely decided against putting a name or any other kind of distinguishing mark on our plane, after what happened to Lady From Hell (Bacon) and Kobensaki San (Cooper). Superstition rears its ugly head!

Trouble is brewing between the aviators and the staff because of suicide assignments. The staff has stated, before all of us, both bomber and fighter pilots, that they regard us as expendable, and have no intention of trying to conserve us. That’s a hell of a thing to tell us to our faces!

Heavy rain all last night. Turned out at 0330 for an early dawn takeoff. Target to be a torpedo dump located on a small island south of Tonolei Harbor. Rain, mud, no coffee, no food. Hop canceled after a two-hour wait. Weather too bad over target.

Army B-24s out on individual night missions over the Buin-Shortland area last night. Two planes failed to return after getting lost in the muck. One crashlanded, the other bunch took to their chutes. No further word.

The inevitable group of souvenir sellers to snagged me today. This time they were a couple of Army boys. For two bottles of Black and White scotch and a Australian £5 note (all I had with me in the way of cash) I obtained a very excellent Japanese Major’s sword. The blade and grip were in excellent condition. Washed clothes and swim in Lunga river.

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